Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has returned a bill passed by the assembly meant to ban online gambling and regulate online games. A highly placed source in the law department has said the Governor “has raised a few queries. The Speaker’s office has received it”. But the move is seen by many as a continuation of the confrontationist stance the state’s DMK government accuses him of.
The assembly had passed the bill in October, after around 20 people died by suicide following losses in online gambling. “Now 44 people have died in the state,” said a government official.
Although a law was enacted by the previous AIADMK government, the court had scrapped it.
The DMK, after it came to power, framed the bill on basis of recommendations by a specially constituted committee under former judge Justice K Chandru.
The bill, which aims to ban online gambling and regulate online games, also classifies a set of popular online games as “games of chance” controlled by computer algorithms.
Governor Ravi, meanwhile, has met representatives of the online gaming industry, triggering criticism.
He is yet to give assent to 20 bills passed by the state assembly, including bills seeking to remove him as the Chancellor of state universities.
The ruling DMK and its allies have dubbed the Governor “an agent of the RSS and BJP”.
He has been accused of acting as a “stumbling block to the state’s development”.
Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to President Droupadi Murmu, asking her to intervene and ensure that the Governor abides by the Constitution and the advice of his government.
In a huge embarrassment to the Governor, the Chief Minister got a resolution adopted by the state assembly to not record the Governor’s version of the address in which he skipped portions that named leaders including Ambedkar and Periyar.
He had also suggested changing the name of the state to Thamizhagam and touched a raw nerve by speaking about religion.
RN Ravi had recently said “nothing prohibits him from sharing his personal views” and that it is “well within his rights to put bills on hold and it is a courteous way of saying no”.
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